Calvin R. Howell

Calvin R. Howell

Professor of Physics

Office Location: 
221 Dfell, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90308, Durham, NC 27708-0308
(919) 660-2632


Professor Howell’s research is in the area of experimental nuclear physics with emphasis on the quantum chromodynamics (QCD) description of low-energy nuclear phenomena, including structure properties of nucleons and nuclei and reaction dynamics in few-nucleon systems.   The macroscopic properties of nucleon structure and the residual strong nuclear force between neutrons and protons in nuclei emerge from QCD at distances where the color interactions between quarks and gluons are strong.  However, the details of the mechanisms that generate the strong nuclear force are not well understood.   Effective field theories (EFT) and Lattice QCD calculations provide theoretical frames that connect low-energy nuclear phenomena to QCD.  Professor Howell and collaborators are conducting experiments on few-nucleon systems that test predictions of ab-initio theory calculations for the purpose of providing insight about the QCD descriptions of low-energy nucleon interactions and structure.  His current projects include measurements of the electromagnetic and spin-dependent structure properties of nucleons via Compton scattering on the proton and few-nucleon systems and studies of two- and three-nucleon interactions using few-nucleon reactions induced by photons and neutrons.  In the coming years, a focus will be on investigating the neutron-neutron interaction in reactions and inside nuclei.  In addition, his work includes applications of nuclear physics to national nuclear security, medical isotope production, and plant biology. Most of his research is carried out at the High Intensity Gamma-ray Source and the tandem laboratory at TUNL. 

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 1984

Selected Grants

Photo-Fission Product Yields of Special Nuclear Materials awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Radiative Capture and Gamma-Induced Reactions at Low Energies awarded by University of North Georgia (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2018

Neutron-Induced Fission Studies and Reactions on Special Nuclear Materials awarded by Department of Energy (Co-Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

International Workshop on the Next Generation Gamma-ray Sources awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Collaborative Research: ARI-MA:Nuclear Data Measurements Using Gamma Rays and Radiation Detector Development awarded by US Department of Homeland Security (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2017

Stellar Evolution Studied with an Optical Time Projection Chamber awarded by University of Connecticut (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2016

Advanced Conceptual Design for the Majorana Demonstrator awarded by Oak Ridge National Labs (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2016

Fission Product Yields of 235U, 238U, 239Pu and Neutron Induced Reactions on Specific Nuclei awarded by Department of Energy (Co-Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2015

REU Site: Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics at TUNL/Duke University awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2015


Bhatia, C., et al. “Exploratory study of fission product yields of neutron-induced fission of U 235, U 238, and Pu 239 at 8.9 MeV EXPLORATORY STUDY of FISSION PRODUCT YIELDS ... C. BHATIA et al.Physical Review C  Nuclear Physics, vol. 91, no. 6, June 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.91.064604. Full Text

Bhatia, C., et al. “Dual-fission chamber and neutron beam characterization for fission product yield measurements using monoenergetic neutrons.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, vol. 757, Sept. 2014, pp. 7–19. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2014.03.022. Full Text

Broussard, L. J., et al. “Measurement of the half-life of the T= 12 mirror decay of Ne 19 and its implication on physics beyond the standard model.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 112, no. 21, May 2014. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.212301. Full Text

Gooden, M. E., et al. “Partial Cross Sections of Neutron-Induced Reactions on natCu at En = 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 MeV for 0νββ Background Studies.” Nuclear Data Sheets, vol. 119, Elsevier BV, May 2014, pp. 121–23. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.nds.2014.08.034. Full Text

Tornow, W., et al. “Proposal for the Simultaneous Measurement of the Neutron-Neutron and Neutron-Proton Quasi-Free Scattering Cross Section via the Neutron-Deuteron Breakup Reaction at En = 19 MeV.” Few Body Systems, vol. 54, no. 12, Dec. 2013, pp. 2171–74. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s00601-012-0488-x. Full Text

Elhami, E., et al. “Erratum: Experimental study of the low-lying structure of 94Zr with the (n,n′γ) reaction (Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics (2008) 78 (064303)).” Physical Review C  Nuclear Physics, vol. 88, no. 2, Aug. 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.88.029903. Full Text

MacMullin, S., et al. “Measurement of the elastic scattering cross section of neutrons from argon and neon.” Physical Review C  Nuclear Physics, vol. 87, no. 5, May 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.87.054613. Full Text

Weisenberger, A. G., et al. “Nuclear physics detector technology applied to plant biology research.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, vol. 718, Jan. 2013, pp. 157–59. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2012.08.097. Full Text

Lee, S., et al. “Imaging corn plants with PhytoPET, a modular PET system for plant biology.” Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, Jan. 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1109/NSSMIC.2013.6829796. Full Text

Stephenson, S. L., et al. “Experiment on direct n-n scattering – the radiation-induced outgassing complication.” Nuclear Physics A, vol. 895, Dec. 2012, pp. 33–43. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2012.09.005. Full Text


Gunasingha, R., et al. “SU‐FF‐T‐436: Comparison of Neutron Doses to a Water Target Exposed to a 10 MeV Neutron Beam: Foil Activation Method Vs. Monte Carlo Simulations.” Medical Physics, vol. 36, no. 6, 2009, pp. 2622–23. Scopus, doi:10.1118/1.3181918. Full Text

Brady, S., et al. “SU‐FF‐T‐372: Novel Neutron Dosimetry Using Radiochromic Films for 10 MeV Neutrons.” Medical Physics, vol. 36, no. 6, 2009, p. 2607. Scopus, doi:10.1118/1.3181853. Full Text

Tonchev, A. P., et al. “Missing dipole excitation strength below the particle threshold.” Proceedings of Science, vol. 44, 2007.

Mikhailov, S. F., et al. “Commissioning of the booster injector synchrotron for the HIGS facility at Duke University.” 2007 Ieee Particle Accelerator Conference, Vols 1 11, IEEE, 2007, pp. 3408-+.

Vieira, D. J., et al. “Neutron capture and (n,2n) measurements on 241Am.” Nd2007, EDP Sciences, 2007. Crossref, doi:10.1051/ndata:07636. Full Text

Sharma, Amy C., et al. “Development of a High-Energy Gamma Camera for use with NSECT Imaging of the Breast.” 2006 Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, Vol 1 6, IEEE, 2006, pp. 3925–27.

Kapadia, Anuj J., et al. “Neutron Spectroscopy of Mouse Using Neutron Stimulated Emission Computed Tomography (NSECT).” 2006 Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, Vol 1 6, IEEE, 2006, pp. 3546–48.

Kapadia, Anuj J., et al. “Neutron Stimulated Emission Computed Tomography (NSECT) for Early Detection of Breast Cancer.” 2006 Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, IEEE, 2006. Crossref, doi:10.1109/nssmic.2006.353847. Full Text

Tornow, W., et al. “Photon analyzing power for the three-body breakup of He-3 at E-gamma=15.0 MeV.” Few Body Problems in Physics, edited by N. KalantarNayestanaki et al., vol. 768, AMER INST PHYSICS, 2005, pp. 138–40.

Howell, C. R. “Results from Indirect Measurements of the 1S0 Neutron-Neutron Scattering Length.” Aip Conference Proceedings, vol. 680, 2003, pp. 283–87. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.1619717. Full Text